Coming Up: A Legendary Weekend
By Bill Francis
Thomas Tull has helped produce some of the most popular films of the last decade, but calls being saluted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame this coming weekend “the biggest honor of my life.”
At the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 27 at Doubleday Field, writer Paul Hagen and broadcaster Tom Cheek will be honored for their outstanding careers, but the day will also feature a salute to Tull, whose company produced the Jackie Robinson biopic “42”, as well as a tribute to Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the surgical procedure now known as “Tommy John Surgery.”
As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment, Tull was at Citi Field’s Jackie Robinson Rotunda prior to the start of the recent MLB All-Star Game to present a $42,000 check to Commissioner Bud Selig for the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.
Legendary, which has brought to movie audiences “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover” trilogy and “300,” produced the film “42,” released in April, which tells the story of Robinson, portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman, and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford.
Attending the Citi Field presentation were Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and daughter, Sharon. The check was presented in celebration of that day’s nationwide DVD release of “42.”
After the Citi Field ceremony, Tull talked about the upcoming Cooperstown honor.
“It’s still (in shock and) disbelief. I grew up 45 minutes away so it’s a crazy thing but I can’t wait,” said Tull, born and raised in Binghamton, N.Y. “The Hall of Fame is probably one of the most special places in the world. It’s where I’ve spent a lot of time with family. I can’t believe that I get the privilege of being part of this weekend.
“Unfortunately, I’m not being honored as a ballplayer,” he added with a laugh. “But one way or the other, I’m glad it happened.”
As for the event prior to the All-Star Game, Tull said, “It was such a privilege to make the movie ‘42’ and to have Sharon Robinson and Mrs. Robinson here and the Commissioner at the All-Star Game here in New York where it all started is a very special day.”
The one-hour Hall of Fame Awards Presentation, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Doubleday Field.
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum